Without a doubt, the holidays can bring a crazy amount of stress and Thanksgiving is no different. You might be meeting your significant other’s family for the first time, hosting the holiday at your house this year, or it’s your first holiday together period. Take a few steps to prevent one another from becoming overwhelmed or frustrated this Thanksgiving.
1. If you're hosting Thanksgiving, make sure to share the work load.
Whether you're hosting your friends or your families or a combination of both, the key to survival is to help each other with all the tasks at hand. That may mean splitting the duties (one of you cleans while the other one cooks), or working together to get everything on the to-do list done. This is a wonderful opportunity to support one another and work toward a common goal together. Plus, entertaining can be fun -- especially if you do it with someone you love, so enjoy the day and don't get too caught up in the idea of being "perfect."
2. If you're traveling, make a joint playlist for the road.
Holiday travel is stressful enough and if there's family on the other end of your trip, you're likely feeling even more pressure than usual. So keep things a little lighter by spending an hour or so before your travel day making a joint playlist you can listen to together en route. Choose songs you both love or have special meaning to you as a couple to help you reconnect during your weekend away (or help you think of each other if you have to spend the holiday apart). And when you hear your playlist song on the radio, it’s a sweet reminder of the holiday you spent together.
3. Make time for just the two of you.
If you're hosting friends or family or going away for the whole weekend, it's imperative that you squeeze in some solo time with your partner. If you're lucky enough to share a room, retire to bed a little earlier than normal or stay in bed just a little later to relish a few extra moments of alone time. Try to get out for a walk around the neighborhood, or pull your spouse away from the rest of the family and show them a childhood photo album. The point is to reconnect at some point during each day so you can check in with one another and you won't feel like strangers when the weekend's over and it's just the two of you again.
4. If you're meeting new family, debrief each other on names, relationships, and topics to avoid.
Thanksgiving is a time for a lot of new couples to meet each other's extended families for the first time. If you have a crazy Uncle Phil who's sometimes medicated and sometimes not, warn your girlfriend about him before you throw her into the fray. Likewise, if cousin Sue just got canned or Aunt Irene's cheatin' husband just dumped her or twins Larry and Carrie can't stand each other anymore, let your significant other know about these dynamics so they’re not caught off-guard or with the old foot in the mouth.
5. Thank each other.
This is Thanksgiving, after all, so don't forget to show your appreciation for your one and only. Whether you're grateful he's coming home with you to meet your family or you're thankful she's putting up with all the football on TV, tell your significant other often how much you appreciate him or her this Thanksgiving. It's one of those things people really can't hear enough.